a change is coming...

So we have big news! Anyone care to venture a guess? :) For those of you who get our newsletter, we'll elaborate in the new one, which should be emailed out on Monday...


guess who's coming to dinner

Last week, my landlord's wife and I made plans that their family would come to our house for dinner. That day arrived yesterday, and husband and I were very anxious. The people in our area tend to be quite ethnocentric about their food. The most adventurous food the average South Asian eats is food from the other side of the country. Sometimes they enjoy Chinese food, but since China is a neighboring country, that's like an American calling Mexican food "exotic". Now, their food is very tasty, so I don't blame them, but it is humorous to watch their faces grow tense when we ask them over to dinner. We've been here over a year now, and although people show up at all times of the day except meal time, this is the first family to agree to come to our house for dinner. We have seen many times firsthand how word gets around about us white folks. For example, I've met people on the road who already know my husband's name, know where I live, and know how much I pay for rent. Husband and I realized if this dinner was a failure, everyone in town would know it, and we could forget having any future guests over. This is why we were a bit nervous.

Since my landlord's wife is strictly vegetarian, meaning she doesn't eat meat nor eggs, we decided to make vegetable fajitas, rice, refried beans, and ranch potatoes. In the middle of making the tortilla dough, I asked husband if he could call and make sure they remembered they were coming for dinner. I'm glad he called, because the wife had apparently never told our landlord, and they probably wouldn't have shown up! The wife was probably hoping I would forget I ever invited them over. Luckily they did arrive, albeit very apprehensive. We told them this was our own homestate's variation on Mexican food, and we taught them how to roll the food up in the tortillas. Surprise was etched on all of their faces at how much they liked the food. They exclaimed over and over again how delicious it was, and even my landlord's wife, who speaks little English, told me it was "very tasty." I think part of why they liked it so much was because their expectations had been so low that Chini's mutton and oatmeal would've tasted good.

We forgot to take any pictures of our time with them, but since last night was a success, I'm hoping we'll have more opportunities. Do you think they're ready for fried okra yet??


new friends

I have begun to understand why so many people in Seattle commit suicide from the rain. It really is depressing, and I was getting pretty homesick for awhile there. But this past week, some great things have been happening, starting with that bright light in the sky. I think it's the sun, but since I've forgotten what it looks like, I'll just have to assume. It's been there for about 5 days in a row now, and wow, what a difference.

Also, ever since Priya got married and moved away, I've been a bit lonely, thinking I had no friends in town. But I went over to hang out with my landlord's wife a week ago, and the next day she sent husband and me some delicious lunch. I was so happy to be reminded that the boss still cares for me that I took a picture. Seriously, food here is not photogenic in any way, but it sure tastes good. Our landlord and his family are coming over tomorrow night for dinner, and we are cooking them a mexican fiesta! I hope we can start to build a relationship with them, especially since in the winter, they will be moving below us.

Then, we met Kristof and Katarina, a new couple who have come here for the same reason as us. They are from Slovakia and are close to our age, and we have a lot in common. Kristof is even just as much into Macs as husband, and Katarina and I share a love/hate relationship towards the computer. (mine stems from that I love our Mac but hate to tell husband that he was right :) Katarina and I spent all day drinking coffee and shopping for things for their new flat, and Kristof and husband spent all day getting their internet set up. We are hoping to partner with them in our work, and it'll be great to have a female to work with.


take a bite out of monkeys

You may have noticed that we haven't had many posts about monkeys in a long time. The main reason for this is Chini, our super monkey crime fighting dog. Here is our Super Dog by day, relaxing before her moments of monkey madness. But don't let her peaceful facade fool you. She has learned early on the dangers of the primate, and thinks constantly of how she can fight them off. In what must be one of the many differences between Chini and dogs raised in the States, all we have to say is, "Go get 'em, Chini!" and she darts up to the roof barking and growling, ready to fight off not cats, not strangers, but monkeys.

Today for some reason, the gray monkeys have been going nuts on our roof, and I had the chance to catch Chini in action. Here are some pics of her in between her manic running from one side of the roof to the next.

And here are a few pics of Chini training for her role as Super Dog...


if at first you don't succeed...

Today was my first ballet class, but I don't know if you can call it a class since no one showed up. I didn't take it as a good sign when I arrived and not only was the director not there, but the room where the classes were supposed to be in had two big ping pong tables in it. Technically, someone did show up - a Russian girl staying at the Y sat in the room, and chatting with her helped me pass the 30 minutes I waited to see if I would have any students. There's still hope though. A few headmasters have expressed interest in me possibly teaching ballet at their schools, so as soon as I can get in for an interview, I'm going to try again.

Something funny did happen from the experience at the Y though. I had to change back out of my dance clothes, and a worker there pointed me towards a bathroom. Apparently he pointed me to the men's room, because after changing in the shower area, I looked for a bathroom to use, and a guy was in a stall, using the urinal with the door open! I could have walked out unnoticed, but I couldn't help blurting out, "Oh my gosh!" and he laughed, and I said sorry and giggled on my way out. Fun times at the Y.